Friday, March 28, 2008

Our Visit to Cold Calgary!

The kids and I had a fabulous time visiting Aunt Jacquee and the kidos in Calgary. The traveling part went so smoothly. I was very happy with how the kids did on such a long trip, but they were great. And we made it with record time as well. We didn't do a whole lot while we were there, just relaxed (as much relaxing as you can do with 7 kids). We did enjoy the company of sisters though. I love being with my sister and spending time with her family. I hope that we will get to do it more often with them being closer! Here are some pictures that Jacquee took, because my camera has issues.

Sunny drive!

We celebrated Zac's 5th birthday, and what a celebration we had!

Madison modeling some slippers!

We did a lot of baking, so that we could do a lot of eating, and those pumpkin cookies sure were yummy!

Madison and Danica loved taking pictures and getting pictures taken

Not sure how this happened, but they were enjoying it!

My littlest, but biggest (also adorable) nephew, Brycen.

The birthday boy loving his sister!

Emilee enjoyed taking all the Kleenex out of the box, boy was she good at it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Lied

Okay, I found some pictures on facebook, not sure how well they will translate into blogger...

this picture was everywhere...hilarious.

this is the bus the family was living in. this is the finished house, with shower room and outhouse to the right.a picture of us buildingthere is no electricity but we use solar energy to charge to batteries which can power some lights and a plugwe build 6 bunkbeds in the one bedroomthis is the kitchen area, with a little propane stovethis is the family receiving their house. that is Freddie on the right.

Back to Normal

Life is finally back to normal. It is Monday morning, following the Easter weekend, and all 5 of us are bagged, and catching up on sleep and catching up on how the last couple of weeks have been for the all of us. For Kellee and the kids they were in Calgary, visiting Kellee's sister who just recently moved there. For me, I was in Vicente Guererro, Mexico, just 6 hours south of San Diego, with our new church on a missions trip. It was an unbelievable week.

43 of us left early Saturday morning, and via ferry, coach bus, airplane, and van travelled from Victoria to VG in about 36 hours. We spent most of our week building a house for a family of 6 who were (until last Thursday) living in a dilapidated bus. The living conditions for this family were horrendous. Last summer some people from our church met this family, and we used our thanksgiving offering to purchase the family some land, and then our team built them a house. It was a very modest house, about 400 square feet, all wood, no running water, no electricity. It would make a really neat play fort for our kids, but to this family it was the beginning of a new life.

Besides the house build we did several other things, we visited a local church, we spent an afternoon at a housing (if you want to call it that) compound where migrant workers lived while working in the fields all day, and of course we did some sight seeing, and had some fun.

God was really at work in my own life, and I can only imagine in the lives of the rest of the team. A couple of significant highlights for me were when Rosario, the single mom of the family we built for made our whole team lunch. She makes between 3-7 dollars a day when she can find childcare for her 4 youngest. To think about how much that meal must have cost her made it a truly humbling experience to eat it. Also the ceremony we had with the family when we actually gave them the keys to their own house was unbelievable, not a dry in the place. We had a meal together, we spoke through translators and we just enjoyed the blessing of being together.

It was at the ceremony when God really spoke to me. There I met Freddie. He is 18 and the oldest child in the family. I decided I would spend some time with him, and through a translator learned alot. He is currently in his last year of 'prep school'. Which is our equivalent of high school. In order to afford school (no free public education in Mexico) he has to work in the morning from 8-1230, and then go to school in the afternoon. In Mexico they have huge celebrations for children when the finish grade 6 because it is so rare, so the fact that Freddie has made it so far is very special. Especially because of his family's economic situation. Nonetheless he is going to be graduating from prep school at the end of this school year with straight A's and really wants to go to university to be an agricultural engineer. University costs a mere 1000 dollars a year (that includes his tuition, books, and extras), and his program is 5 years. However for him this is almost impossible. He will either take 10 or 12 years to finish university, or not finish because his family will need him to work as they grow and get bigger.

So for a mere 5000 dollars Freddie would be able to graduate university. Now here is where the rubber meets the road. If Freddie were able to do that, this would change the economic status of his family forever. He would then be able to provide for his current family, he would also be able to send his kids to school, and they in turn would be able to get jobs that would enable them to do the same. This actually changes everything for this family.

The house was a huge blessing, and a wonderful start, but if nothing changes for this family in 10 or 15 years the house we built will become their new bus. It will deteriorate, get dirty and fall apart. But for 5000 dollars we can remove this family from the vicious cycle that is poverty.

I had the privilege of going back to the house on Friday with a video camera and a translator, and we interviewed Freddie to hear more about him and his dreams. My hope and prayer is that we will be able to show that video to people and they will contribute to his scholarship fund that we will (God willing) hopefully be starting soon. I have a dream that this wouldnt end with Freddie, but it would just start. What if we had a fund that incurred enough interest that we could pay for impoverished children to go to school and not just give them a house, but give them hope.

Sorry for the ramblings, but that is what God did in my life this past week. I didnt take a single picture, but I will post some as soon as people put them on facebook. In the meantime here are some links you can check out to read a bit more about the trip. - this was the blog we kept while in Mexico - this is a link to a video we showed telling the story of the bus family before we went to VG to build for them, you may need a facebook account to view it, not sure??? - the website for the people that we partner with in VG, we have 3 missionaries that are there that we support.